What exactly does that mean? I heard a song on my walk/run this morning that inspired me enough to make me want to explore just what "going the distance" means to me. As a former half-marathoner, I literally know what it means to go "a" distance however did I actually go "the" distance? As an entrepreneur I know that I have my goals for my business yet, I can't exactly tell you what the "distance" may be for each one. Which made me ask myself, just how do I know when I've gone the distance and when I am running that lap and not sure what's next around the corner, how do I keep going?
I am in what I am told is the "messy middle" of an entrepreneur's business. At two years old, I often refer to my business as a toddler. Any parent, aunt, uncle etc. can relate to what a two year old toddler is like - fiercely independent one moment and crumpled in a puddle in the middle of the grocery store the next. Wildly curious in one situation and clinging to mom or dad's leg in the next. That kind of sums up what it is like when you're here. Few steps forward, couple steps back. Full of courage and oomph one minute and questioning everything the next. I think that the biggest learning for me has been to understand that this is not unique to me. This happens to everyone who has taken the leap to be their own boss. The difference between who thrives and who doesn't - that is the mystery. Or is it? Staying the course, having a plan and surrounding yourself with people who challenge you and support you, that seems to be the secret sauce to keeping on going. Acknowledgement of needing help and being vulnerable (gulp) is hugely powerful as well. When you are no longer a part of a big corporation, you don't have the desk of a colleague to pop by and get an opinion, and, getting the opinion of others is so useful and necessary. Two heads or more are always better than one.
So, here's some useful stuff that I've learned that has helped me to stay focused on my outcomes especially when I sink into one of those ruts:
- Acknowledgement - yes, as simple as it seems, acknowledging where you are puts a name to it and something to work from. This is a tough one for me however, to acknowledge what's stopping me is useful because it helps me to get clear - I would rather avoid this step yet, until I go through this step I remain stuck.
- Get input from others -the first thing I do is reach out to others who will challenge me and my thinking and support me to find my next strategy, usually my coach, a mentor or someone that is a few years ahead of me and has been down this road already.
- TAKE ACTION - capitalized for a reason! Doing something, anything, will get you back in the race again. Make that phone call, send that email, post that article...anything that gets you going again!
- Repeat above as necessary.